On Saturday I was delighted to attend the West Grinstead Ploughing Match – a highlight of the West Sussex agricultural calendar which everyone was glad to resume after it was postponed last year due to the pandemic. Special thanks go to longtime Honorary Secretary, Rowan Allen – in post for 23 years – and to John and Alison Ford who hosted the match. The packed-out event schedule saw everything from conventional hydraulic tractor ploughing to open hedge laying and livestock exhibitions to brownie baking.
It is always fantastic to see relationship between our farmers and the wider community being strengthened – and last week I was fortunate to do so both in the constituency and in Parliament, as I met the National Farmers’ Union President Minette Batters in Westminster in support of the Back British Farming campaign, which promotes buying British produce and enjoying the countryside responsibly. This has become a regular annual fixture in Parliament, and eagle-eyed observers will have noticed many MPs at Prime Minister’s Questions wearing a sheaf of corn in their lapel to show their support.
An exciting event that has been happening this past week and which draws to a close on the 26th September is the Great Big Green Week, to celebrate nature and raise awareness of climate change. As the Net Zero champion for the UK, it is great to see such an appetite for change across the country and the variety of events - I was thrilled to see Arundel and South Downs hosting events as a part of Great Big Green Week, such as Hassocks’ URC Church Hall reopening the monthly ‘Repair Café’ to ‘make do and mend’ household items rather than throwing them away and Henfield hosting a ‘Give Your Stuff Away’ day, which was inspired by Greening Steyning’s freecycle events that Steyning hosted in previous years.
Finally, on Friday I met Nicola Jones who chairs Petworth Vision – a community alliance of the Town Council, Business Association, Chichester District Council and National Trust – to discuss how to improve mobile phone coverage in Petworth and the surrounding villages. It was a productive meeting, and I will be following up with the company that operates the local mast to see what can be done to boost services for local residents, businesses and visitors to Petworth alike.